The New JCL

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The New JCL

Conrad Li, Writer

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Everyone at STE knows about Latin, the subject all students are grudgingly obliged to take. But in Mrs. Emshoff’s classroom, people cheer and laugh because of Latin. This is JCL. By connecting the classics with the modern world, this organization brings new levels of fun and excitement to this ancient language. Sports, academics, art, speech, and catapult contests are just some of the activities JCL has to offer. However, JCL is not just about studying and competing. Most of the people there are not even Latin nerds, but students wanting to socialize and make friends outside of their own school, city, or even state. 

This year the STE, JCL has changed dramatically. Mrs. Emshoff, the long time faculty moderator for the club, passed on her position to Mr. Kim, a former JCL’er himself. Popular both in the classroom and out, it is not surprising to see hoards of middle schoolers flocking towards him. Already, he has planned with the student officers ideas for the year. “I am a little nervous, but I’m just grateful that we have a good officer group that is willing to be creative and take on some roles.” remarked Mr. Kim.


Though he was not a great Latin student, JCL completely changed his life when one of his teachers suggested that he do certamen, a competitive Latin buzzer game. “I enjoyed competing and I enjoyed learning. I really like Roman History. Though I got 7th place at the state meet, it triggered the feeling that I could do this.” Mr. Kim said.

This year the freshmen are joining the advanced certamen team. “I’m excited to join the advanced team and hope to be a valuable player.” said Matthew Darmadi ‘20. Last year, Matthew Darmadi and 3 others including Joel Hrncir ‘20 and Beth Athaide ‘21 won the intermediate division at the Area A convention. “I think we are going to have a strong advanced team this year.” said Mr. Kim. As their coach, Mr. Kim had already played certamen for Virginia on the national level.

Yet, with organizing meetings and training the certamen team, Mr. Kim is still callow at being a JCL sponsor. “I have big shoes to fill, but I’m hoping to ask Mrs. Emshoff and Mrs. Rhymes for advice.” said Mr. Kim.

Aside from a new sponsor, two students also went to the National JCL Convention at the University of Indiana in Bloomington. Conrad Li ‘19 and Andrew Grimely ‘20 devoted one week of their summer to learning and making friends from across the U.S. More than 1600 students were present at the meeting. “I really liked doing the spirit cheers. They were fun.” remarked Andrew Grimely ‘20. Showing off the STES bagpiping pride, he made it through to the top ten out of 60 applicants who tried out for the national talent show. “I made a few mistakes, but the crowd was shouting and they loved it.” he said.

Last year, at the state convention many people could even be seen walking around with videos of the bagpipers on their phones. Conrad Li ‘19, who was chosen to be the Area A (Houston) Chair, stood at the front with the other 9 officers in the daily state fellowship meetings. “I am new to this and am still learning but I hope I can pull off running the area convention.” Placing 10th in both grammar and reading comprehension, Conrad Li ‘19 remarked, “There was a lot of walking involved but it was worth it in the end.”

“Friendship, Fun, and Competition. This is JCL.” Mr. Kim concluded.